The Scappoose High School boys wrestling team hasn't wasted time in the short season, winning each of its first nine matchups.
The team has won each matchup by an average of 34 points, with just two meets left on the schedule as of the time the Spotlight went to press.
Head coach Nick Byrd said the team would have likely had 10 more wrestlers if it weren't for the unusual season and year.
Byrd said Scappoose has roughly 40 wrestlers this year, including girls.
Though the team is somewhat smaller than would have been expected in previous years, strong wrestlers have still brought wins for the team. Byrd said seniors Brett Krieger, Cutter Sandstrom and Deacon Smith "have put in a ton of time" on the team.
"It's unfortunate that those guys don't get a typical season, but I'm pretty happy that they've been able to get something out of it," Byrd said.
While the Tribe's wrestlers have dominated the competition, Sandstrom said the feel of the season wasn't what he hoped from his senior year. Though seniors graduated June 5, they still had a few more matches left.
"To put it nicely, it's been," Sandstrom said, pausing to pick the right words, "not great."
Sandstrom said that while some aspects of the season felt disappointing or just plain terrible, he was grateful to have some sort of conclusion to his final year.
"I feel kind of blessed to have something — I was going to be really upset if I didn't get to wrestle anymore," he said.
Sandstrom said he's won all his matches so far this season, but he is missing out on the fiercer competition that large tournaments usually provide.
"I just want to have the best time I can have with my teammates and really enjoy the season," Sandstrom said, rather than focusing on the parts he's missing out on.
Byrd said that in addition to the experienced wrestlers like Sandstrom, the team has "a really talented younger group that has bought into working pretty hard and is going to do some great things down the road for us, too."
The shortened season means less matches for wrestlers and less practice time, both before the first competition and in between meets.
"But everybody's in the same boat," Byrd said. "It's an even playing field. So you've gotta look at it in a positive way. They're able to get experience this year and still able to compete, where three or four months ago, it didn't look like it was gonna be a real high likelihood (of competition)."
In a normal season, varsity wrestlers could get around 45 matches in a season. But this season, the team is looking at just 11 or 12 matches, Byrd said.
"It was a tough balance, trying to decide how much to actually wrestle," Byrd said. "I'd like to have a lot more practice, getting kids comfortable and confident with what they're doing, before throwing them out there."
Many of those matches usually take place at tournaments where dozens of schools are competing. A varsity wrestler could get a dozen matches in at one big tournament — the same number of matches wrestlers will get in the entire season this year.
Usually wrestlers would have more practice time in between competitions, to make adjustments or fine-tune any techniques that weren't successful at the last competition.
"But it's all worked out," Byrd said. "We've got a good balance of having competition and not losing too many practices."
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